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Coffee and cats: a round-a-bout meditation on our bodies and computers

I write this with a cup of coffee on the left side of my laptop, one cat on the end of the table busy cleaning herself and another cat on my right in the window sniffing around to better understand the world around him. The small, sharp barks of my father’s puppy come through said window. I start with these physical details because they ground me and help me get started. Often, I think we’d all be a bit better off if we pulled out of past memories and future fantasies and focused on what our present realities- knowing of course, that we can never be fully present, never fully process all we see/hear/taste/touch/feel. Our brains have to pick what to pay attention to out of all the stimuli.

Here are a few of the stimuli that my brain chooses for me to notice.

The ceiling fan’s spin is a gentle whirl of sound with a small hitch that disrupts the smoothness of the spin. The seat of the chair I sit in is covered in a towel. I can feel the texture of the towel through my thin, cotton pajama bottoms. There is a heavy, full feeling in my guts and ass as my body prepares for the second part of my morning constitutional. The taste of coffee lingers on my tongue, the roof of my mouth, the back of my throat. My skin is clammy, my hair itchy. I pull air in through my nose and notice that one nostril is quite congested. My nipples are tingly, and I well aware that I am a body with genitals.

One of the reasons I have become less and less enchanted with the electronic ether is that as it currently is constructed it pulls our awareness away from our bodies. It compels us to spend long periods of time sitting, which is not good for our bodies, including the brains in those bodies. I have found myself inhibited from writing and posting because I don’t want to spend so much time hunched over a computer, and I don’t want my faithful and faithless followers to spend so much time hunched over their computers. I have drafts of pieces about important social issues that I haven’t finished and posted (for multiple reasons) but one of the inhibiting factors is that I do not want to keep y’all fixed to the screen.

Someday, we might have computer systems that engage our bodies fully, that allow a greater range of movement and encourage a greater awareness of the world around us, but until then, what we have now causes us to curl into ourselves. We need to need curl in now and again, but we are spending too much time crunched up.

Today, my wish for y’all is that you uncurl, that stretch out your bodies and your awareness. That you get up away from the computer and move that body- it can be a selfish movement or a selfless movement. You could go for a walk or run, or clean the bathroom, or cook soup for people without homes, or rough house with a child, or go bowling, or dance (publicly or privately), or sweep the front walk, or work out in the yard. Uncurl your body.

Take care and keep on keeping on.

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